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The Blue Star by Fletcher Pratt
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The Blue Star (original 1952; edition 1969)

by Fletcher Pratt

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192691,583 (3.35)11
Member:selfnoise
Title:The Blue Star
Authors:Fletcher Pratt
Info:Ballantine Books
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:fantasy, weirdfiction

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The Blue Star by Fletcher Pratt (1952)

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» See also 11 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Parallel universe fantasy with a seductive quest where a couple try to subvert each other's bid for power. Worth a read if you can find it. Surprised no one has made a historical fantasy film out of this one. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
something really wrong with some early sci-fi... and some contemporary sci-fi that holds on to some early sci-fi. It's made for gross men. ( )
  mimiphantomofliberty | Aug 1, 2014 |
The Blue Star predates The Lord of the Rings: it’s fantasy from an earlier era – no dwarfs, elves or Celtic myths, and what magic there is is only slightly less abstract than the sex. Actually, the 1969 edition is labelled adult fantasy, and one of the unexpected pleasures of the book is discovering just how chaste adult fantasy could be back then.

A prologue promises an alternative universe where magic occupies the place that science occupies in ours. If that promise creates an expectation of something like Terry Pratchett’s Discworld, then the book will disappoint. In fact, the practitioners of magic are a tiny, proscribed minority. Our young hero starts out as an idealistic member of a revolutionary group in a land ruled by a queen (who remains an abstraction) and a repressive social order. Following orders from the Central Committee he seduces a young witch and promises fidelity in order to gain control of her Blue Star, an amulet that gives its wearer telepathic powers. There’s a love story, then, and a political story: will the seduction lead to true love? can a revolutionary movement with such a utilitarian attitude to young love really lead to freedom? The playing out of these questions is diverting enough, and the subversively anti-romantic politics are engaging, especially the section about the Amorosans, who talk the talk of everything being done in love, but are just as repressive as their enemies across the water. On the whole, though, the book didn't overwhelm me. If you can imagine a Lord of the Rings where Bilbo decides that there are more important things than destroying the ring and that the Return of the King and the defeat of Sauron, for good or bad, will happen (or not) without his help, you have some idea of the impact.

A word of warning: skip Lin Carter’s spoilerish introduction, or at least save it for after you’ve read the rest of the book. You might also want to skip the prologue, which seems to be there to justify the fantasy mode, and doesn’t do it very well. ( )
  shawjonathan | May 24, 2010 |
Although it is not my favorite Pratt --not up to The Well of the Unicorn, say --it is still well above average for a solidly thought-out fantasy universe. In its day, it was very unusual in that its universe was roughly 18th century (shades of the French Revolution) instead of ancient/medieval. ( )
  antiquary | May 15, 2008 |
A fantasy novel that doesn't use a medieval European base for its setting, Pratt conjures up a magical variant of the 17th century Austrian empire in 'The Blue Star'.
The plot device of magic in conflict with the Church would be used by other writers, notably Katherine Kurtz in the Deryni series, but Pratt's attention to detail and logic has few peers in the fantasy/sci-fi genre.
This was the first book published under the Unicorn's Head colophon of the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series edited by Lin Carter. Certainly a great beginning to a series that over 5 years rarely flagged. ( )
  schteve | Mar 10, 2007 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Fletcher Prattprimary authorall editionscalculated
Carter, LinIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sweet, Darrell K.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Penfield twirled the stem of his port-glass between thumb and finger.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345298527, Mass Market Paperback)

Lalette Asterhax could not escape her destiny. She was a hereditary witch in a world where witchcraft was banned by ecclesiastical and temporal powers. And any man who possessed her would then gain possession of her precious Blue Star…and all the powers it could bestow.

Rodvard Bergelin was a reluctant revolutionary ... a rogue who had a date with destiny. Although he lusted after a rich baron's daughter, Rodvard was ordered to seduce the saucy witch-maiden. Then all the magical powers of that strange blue jewel would be his ... for as long as he remained faithful to Lalette!

"A magnificent job of writing ... a gem-perfect example of a branch of pure fantasy so rare nowadays." --Damon Knight

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:20 -0400)

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